Senior WR/DB Alec Boucher scored 3 touchdowns (2 receiving and 1 rushing), senior QB Ing Hao Veasna threw 2 TD passes and ran for 1 TD and the Winnacunnet Warriors improved to 5-3 on the season by defeating seacoast rival Dover (now 2-6) 31-14 on Friday night in Hampton. Winnacunnet, Exeter and Spaulding all remain tied atop the Division I's East Conference with identical 5-3 records.
Dover hung in there for most of the game, but Winnacunnet had some big touchdowns in the 2nd half to break it open. Veasna hit Boucher with a 23 yard TD pass that iced the game for the Warriors with 3:49 left in the 4th quarter. That made it 31-14 Winnacunnet and after Dover was forced to punt on their next possession both teams put in their backups. On that play Boucher was left wide open, as Dover had a breakdown in coverage.
Ryan Welch had a big game defensively for Winnacunnet, helping up front to stuff the run and also had many tackles for no gain or a loss of yards.
The Warriors struck first with a couple of big plays on their first drive. After a sack by Dover's Ryan Hayden, Clint Felch (82 rushing yards) busted loose for a 64 yard run to the Green Wave 17 yard line. Then it was that dynamic duo, Veasna-to-Boucher, connecting for a 15 yard TD pass which (like their other one) came way too easily. 7-0 Winnacunnet, 5:45 lft 1st quarter.
Dover answered right back though, knotting the game 7-7. After a big hit by WHS sophomore lineman Cody Pierce, Dover QB Derek Stegman hit wideout Darren Correnti for a 6 yard pass on 3rd and 4 from the Winnacunnet 33 yard line. A few plays later it was 4th and goal from the 1 yard line for Dover, and that's when Eric Waddington (56 yards rushing and a wrecking ball at linebacker) dove forward for the touchdown.
The Warriors capped the 1st half scoring on the ensuing possession, as sophomore kicker Max Chaykowsky kicked a 32 yard field goal. It was 10-7 Winnacunnet after 2 quarters of play, but Dover looked confident at halftime knowing they could play with these guys.
Winnacunnet went up by 2 scores for the first time when Boucher dove into the end zone from 1 yard out after a big 20 yard pass from Veasna (135 passing yards and 66 rushing yards) to Colin Witt on 3rd and 3. Isaiah Bickwood played tough 'D' on the drive but the Warriors were still able to score.
Again though, Dover answered back as Stegman scored on a 10 yard QB keeper run to cut the WHS lead to 17-14 with 3:23 left 3rd quarter. Waddington had a 19 yard run on the drive.
Then it was Veasna's turn to score, as the Warriors QB ran in for a 17 yard TD. It was set up by a big kick return by Felch and a 19 yard run by Veasna. Winnacunnet now led 24-14 with 1:11 left 3rd quarter. That's how it would stay until WHS put it on ice with the Veasna-to-Boucher (4 catches for 85 yards) TD pass later on.
In addition to Welch and Pierce, Devin Long also played strong defense for the Warriors. WHS now has a big game vs. Nashua South next weekend. That is a must win game if they hope to make the playoffs.